Officials from Arik Air are investigating to determine just how a teenager was able to get past security, stow himself away in the wheel compartment of an airplane, and survive a half-hour flight from Benin to Lagos on Saturday.
The subject of the investigation is Daniel Ihekina, who was trying to get from his hometown of Benin City in southern Nigeria to the city of Lagos, which lies about 200 miles to the west and is a commercial hub for Arik Air. Ihekina managed to evade security in order to find a place in the plane's undercarriage, which is the main question facing aviation officials at this time.
"How he got through security is something for the authorities to investigate," airline spokesman Ola Adebanji said. "He's lucky to have survived it. Not many people can do that and survive."
Meanwhile, Yakubu Dati, a spokesman for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, says security lapses at Nigerian airports are "incessant" and is looking to the agency's management to address the situation. Dati also suggested that Arik Air be held accountable for not acting before the flight took off from Benin.
Passengers reportedly spotted Ihekina on the runway before takeoff, but the flight went on as planned and the teenager survived the half-hour flight. Luckily for him, the short duration of the flight meant a lower flying altitude of 21,000 feet.
Ihekina was arrested and questioned when the flight landed in Lagos, prompting the ongoing investigation.